Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD)

Flagship Program 2: SA-IPLJ

Southern Africa Program on Inclusive Policies, Legislation and Justice (SA-IPLJ)

Under this program, the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), through its national affiliate federation of FDPOs, seeks to engage with SADC as well as Governments in the region to influence policies, legislation and access to inclusive Justice on disability and human rights related issues.

The human rights of persons with disabilities have historically been marginalized in international human rights instruments. Prior to the recent development of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 (CRPD), the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (CRC) was the only binding international human rights treaty that specifically referred to disability, prohibiting discrimination against children with disabilities. In contrast to the international covenants, the three core African human rights treaties all contain provisions on disability which, although not as well developed as those in the CRPD, contain significant protection for persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, not all of these treaties have been ratified and all are currently poorly implemented (Martin, 2000, Viljoen, 2000).

On this basis, SAFOD believes that there is urgent need not only to ensure that all SADC countries have ratified the CRPD but also, and most significantly, that CRPD is well domesticated in the various statutes and pieces of legislations and polices of these countries and well enforced. This can only be achieved if there are deliberate programmes on the ground that aim to build the capacity of the Persons with Disabilities themselves, and their Disability Peoples Organisations (DPOs), to effectively lobby for appropriate policies and legislation as well as monitor the enforcement and/or domestication of the CRPD.

In addition, we also need to understand the fact that the African Continent has its own cultural contexts that need to be comprehensively taken into account when implementing the CRPD, and the Convention therefore cannot tackle all of them hence we need to come up with our own continental, regional and even country-level legal instruments an policies that support the basic principles and spirit of the Convention itself.

SAFOD has, therefore, identified the following key actions and programmatic interventions in order to address the some of the challenges:

  1. Generate evidence through commissioning and coordination of appropriate desk and action research on disability related issues, disseminate and promote utilization of the findings as core agenda for policy advocacy engagement.
  2.  Engage with governments at all levels to feed findings from research and from field experience into public policy, legislation and national development programs
  3.  Advocate and lobby for the utilization of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and African Decade Continental Plan of Action for policy, legislation and program development, implementation and monitoring.
  4. Create awareness, sensitization and lobby policy makers on disability related issues.
  5. Engage the SADC member States and lobby parliamentary on reviewing or development of disability policies and legislation at national level.
  6. Engage and lobby for disability human rights frameworks in countries where frameworks are non- existence.
  7. Raise awareness, educate and sensitize SADC and its member States on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and African Decade of Persons with disabilities and its Plan of Action.
  8. Increase the capacity of NFDPOs and partners to monitor compliance to policy, programme and frameworks.